Author: Big Bully Outdoors
Keeping Boca Grande Tarpon Hooked
Boca Grande Tarpon migration signals the start of Spring in South West Florida. Anglers travel from all over to fish our passes and beaches. These tarpon travel up our shorelines in the months of April-July. Our area acts as a staging ground before they head offshore to spawn. Big tarpon are known to destroy leader. These acrobatic fish grow to be over 200 lbs and can snap a fishing line in an instant. There are a few methods to you can use to keep your hook up to land ratio high.
Its important to be prepared for the fight. Use a sensitive rod with a strong backbone - allowing you to feel the eat, but giving you enough power to lift this fish to the surface. We use Penn 6000 Reels, giving the angler a good amount of line capacity. These reels are filled with 50-60 lb braid to 50 lb fluorocarbon leader to put some serious drag to these fish. Turning them out of the pod and out into open water for your best shot at getting your fish boat side. Leader matters, and Bullbuster holds tough. Keeping them buttoned up are 7/0 Trokar hooks. These are sharp and penetrate the fish's hard mouth without breaking.
I fish using live bait: Calico crabs (pass crabs) or small blue crabs, squirrel fish, live mullet and thread fins. I use a loop knot to secure my leader to the hook, use a knot that allows your bait to swim naturally - just as a crab or bait would drift naturally in the current flow.
You are hooked up, now what? Hold on tight! A tarpon battle can last anywhere from 10-45 mins depending on the angler and most importantly, the fish. Tarpon are known for their acrobatic skills easily throwing your hook if you do not “bow”. What am I talking about? When you hear the term “bow to the king” when the angler feels the fish run and come up to the surface, they fully extend their arm, pointing the rod towards the fish. This takes some pressure off the line and can sometimes prevent the line from breaking or the hook from coming lose during one of their violent head shakes.
Releasing your tarpon is easy, keep water moving in one direction (not back and forth) until the fish can get a bit of energy back. A healthy tarpon will let you know when they are ready to swim off. Keep them in the water for best chance at revival to ensure the next generation gets hooked on them too!
Need To Get Spooled Up For Tarpon?
For most situations braided fishing line is the go to fishing line for tarpon fishing. Braided lines allow you to fight the silver king with relatively light tackle by allowing you pack a ton of heavy line (40-80Lb braid) on your reels.
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